The Big Lemon applies to the Traffic Commissioner to cancel Route 42

,p>The Big Lemon has today applied to the Traffic Commissioner to cancel Route 42 between the centre of Brighton and the University of Sussex. The company launched Route 42, named after Douglas Adams’ answer to Life, The Universe and Everything, in 2007 to provide a friendly, affordable and environmentally-friendly service between the University of Sussex and the city centre, following widespread unhappiness at bus fare increases across the city.

A route 42 bus braves the weather at the University of Sussex last winter
A route 42 bus braves the weather at the University of Sussex last winter

Managing Director Tom Druitt said:
“One of the aims of launching an alternative service was to introduce competition to the city’s bus network with the aim of putting downward pressure on bus fares and increasing the level of service. In this aim we have been spectacularly successful. When we started, there were 12 buses an hour from the universities to Brighton at peak times, and a day ticket on the bus was £3.20. Now there are 20 buses an hour at peak times (not including ours) and a day ticket on those services is just £2.50. Unfortunately these fare reductions have been confined to buses serving the universities, even as the rest of the network’s buses have seen fare increases. This seems like a clear attempt to squeeze us out of the market, and unfortunately our own service is no longer viable to run. We have had a huge amount of fun running this service, and would like to thank all our passengers who have supported us over the years, especially Mrs Moustafa from Bates Estate who has been a very loyal passenger and sent cards, biscuits, chocolate and lots of kind words to keep up the drivers’ morale! I would also like to thank the University of Sussex Students Union for their support and all the people who helped earlier this year raising awareness of our situation and signing petitions, organising fundraisers, and sending emails in support of our services. It’s been very humbling to see so much support from lots of different sections of the community, and we will continue to provide bus services on Route 44 and also our popular private hire buses, festival coaches and local waste oil collection service.”

Further info (added 22 Dec 2011):

The Big Lemon news release and comment on the increase in frequency and reduction in prices of competing bus services

The Full Report of the Competition Commission’s enquiry into local bus services